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Tom calls his sister a "capital girl" and this is a reiteration of the imagery of economics applied to emotional and human subjects. Louisa is "capital" because her marriage presents the potential for profit. Similarly, the children's education at the "Mill" and the "Bank" of learning, transforms them into products and economic laborers. Finally, there is the irony of the old woman who is a spinner of Time.

HARD TIME: SIXTEEN

She is the archetype of the Fates offering a lifetime as a thread to be cut. But in contrast, Bounderby has a weaving factory in which Stephen Blackpool is a skilled power-loom weaver. The motif of weaving operates on yet another level when Dickens compares nature's weaving creation of Stephen Blackpool a human being as superior to the mere spinning and weaving of the goods that Bounderby sells.


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Gradgrind sits in his room which is designed very much like an Observatory. He has spent many ours in this space contemplating and studying human habits and destinies. He prepares to have his serious discussion with Louisa, who insists upon remaining dispassionate throughout the entire encounter. Gradgrind expects Louisa to convey some emotion, but she is entirely stoic and reminds Gradgrind that her upbringing has prevented her from knowing what emotions to express. Gradgrind explains that it is Mr.

Bounderby who has made the marriage proposal and Louisa refrains from registering any emotional response.

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When her father asks her what she intends to do, Louisa turns the question back to him and asks him what he thinks she ought to do. Gradgrind looks at the situation analytically and dismisses the fact of Bounderby being fifty years old. The marriage has little to do with love and is simply a matter of "tangible Fact. But as she does not see that any opportunity will bring her happiness she realizes that it does not matter what she does. She continually repeats the phrase "what does it matter?

In the end, Louisa is still emotionless and she replies: "I am satisfied to accept his proposal. Gradgrind is very pleased and he kisses his daughter on the forehead. When Mrs. Gradgrind hears the news she is happy but then she works herself into a fit and soon passes out.

Sissy Jupe is present and she is, perhaps, the only one who is able to sense the difference in Louisa. Louisa keeps herself at a distance and is "impassive, proud and cold. The reference to Bluebeard and Mr.

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Gradgrind's office room being full of "bluebooks" is a combination of irony and allusion. At the very least, the very mention of Bluebeard, a villain from a child's fairy tale story, foreshadows the marriage drama that unfolds and it is a reminder of the war against "fancy" and "imagination" that the Gradgrinds have embarked upon. Surely this is not a good harbinger for Louisa's upcoming marriage.

Gradgrind is a bit of an ogre. Certainly, he and Bounderby have had Louisa under heavy surveillance and observation for some time. Gradgrind's office is as symbolic an observatory as it is a literal one. The characterization of Louisa reflects the power and politics between Mr. Gradgrind and Mr. She becomes a debased human being in a way, the mere "subject of a proposal. The father is beaten at his own game of stoicism and if anything, this chapter marks the beginning of the blindness motif that will come to identify Mr.

Gradgrind and his inability to understand the human soul. Josiah Bounderby in marriage. Bounderby's first task before the marriage was to inform Mrs. She is offered the option of continuing in the household but she decides that such an arrangement would be improper and Bounderby makes finer arrangements for her elsewhere. He expected that Mrs. Sparsit would be overcome by shock and might pass out but she is hardly surprised and in fact, there is a hint of condescension in her tone. Bounderby assures her that her new position elsewhere will not result in a further fall in societal position.

The eight weeks between the proposal and the wedding are hardly romantic and are entirely fact-based. It is more of a business transaction than anything else. The wedding ceremony is adequately dry and Bounderby makes a long-winded speech. He is very honored to be married to the daughter of as fine a man as Mr. Gradgrind, who is after all, a member of Parliament. He offers best wishes that every man may find a wife as good as his and that every woman may find a husband as good as him. After the wedding, the Bounderbys are due for a honeymoon in "Lyons. If this chapter confirms what we have learned from the stories of Mrs.

Sparsit and also Stephen Blackpool it is an argument of social commentary: the politics of the social scale are mediated more by marriage than by any other one thing. This also presents an interesting contrast between Mrs. Sparsit and Mr. Her fake show of sympathy foreshadows the eventual unhappiness of the marriage.

Who exactly is the "victim? Hard times. Gradgrind believes that students should just memorize large amounts of facts. He says the key to learning is , "facts, not fancy. What was the primary concern of factory owners during the Industrial Revolution?

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What values are promoted in the character of Stephen Blackpool? Stephen is a poor laborer in one of Josiah Bounderby's factories. Stephen puts up with a lot in his life and bares it with a humble humility. There's usually a 'test' button — if it doesn't beep, the battery's gone or you need a new detector. You can pick one up at most supermarkets.


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You can also become exposed to this harmful gas through breathing in cigarette smoke. If you're a smoker, or anyone in your house smokes, then this could be putting your baby's development at risk. We know how hard it is to quit, but there's help out there. Ask your doctor or midwife for support. You know you're supposed to feel better now — everyone tells you that — but what if you don't?

First of all, everyone's pregnancy is different.

If you have it tough now, then maybe you'll breeze through your third trimester. If you feel unwell and it's getting you down, then speak to your doctor or midwife. There's lots of support available and pregnancy isn't about soldiering on alone. You're at the centre of a big team now who will want to support you. Tommy's, the baby charity, has a further list of common symptoms. Your baby, or foetus, is around The weight is around g, which is the same as a medium bag of salad. Your baby is starting to pull faces now, but any smiling or frowning will be completely random, as there's no muscle control yet.

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Hard Time: Sixteen by Steve Gerber

Your baby's hands can form fists and they may start punching around inside you too. Easy, tiger! This is a good week for planning and getting things done. Make a 'to do' list and start ticking things off — it's amazingly therapeutic. Put 'me time' on the list, in case you forget that you're important too. Many women will tell their employer after they've had their first pregnancy scan at around 12 weeks.

Once you tell your employer, you have maternity rights and can attend antenatal appointments during paid work time. You can also ask for a risk assessment of your workplace to ensure that you're working in a safe environment.